The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Security

Haseeb Awan
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August 31, 2022
Modified On
April 13, 2023

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Social media has become an essential component of our lives, as it is a primary mode by which we obtain information and interact with people. This epidemic has only made things worse, as isolation has compelled individuals to rely even more on social media platforms as their primary connection to the rest of the world. People's propensity to share information has increased dramatically as a result.

Every second, a load of personal data are traded for customization. And this has generated a troubling question! How can we protect our online privacy? Revealing too much information online might be used by fraudsters to commit crimes. You can choose what gets public and stays private with improved security enforcement. You may have a secure online experience thanks to more stringent security enforcement.

We are using social media to promote our company as a marketer. We must, nevertheless, be cautious about our privacy. It is all too simple for hackers to get access to personal information. Consumers have become more concerned about their privacy across digital channels. Many people care about protecting their data and are increasingly cautious about what they share on social media and with whom they do so.

Data privacy challenges those who wish to convert customers via social media platforms. In addition, many countries have implemented regulations affecting marketers and their data collection ability. As such, companies need to ensure compliance with these laws to protect customer trust.

Social Media Security Stats

These are the essential statistics that you need to know about social media security: 

1) 4.95 billion more people started using the internet in 2022, totalling 62.5% of the world's population having access to the internet. 

2) In addition, 67.1% of people use mobile phones globally. This number is only predicted to grow with 5.31 billion new users by January 1st, 2022 

3) Lastly, 99.9% of social media users only access social media platforms through a mobile device – meaning that if your security protocol isn't updated for mobile devices, you're essentially putting yourself at risk."

A Hackers' Paradise in the World of Social Media Security

The detrimental thing about social media is that individuals give more attention to the 'social bit' instead of caring for privacy and security. It's not only frequent users, but even security professionals are lazy regarding social media security issues.

Just think about the damage this could do to businesses that depend on social media for promotional campaigns. SpyCloud, a fraud prevention company, showed that64% of security professionals questioned had not changed their social network passwords in over a year, and 70% had never changed them. According to Forbes, social engineering attacks have jumped 15.1% compared to pre-2021 years. A hacker could cause extensive damage to a business, its brand, and its reputation.

Are You Oversharing on Social Media? 

You control how much data you can share when using a computer or mobile program. The following are some suggestions:

  • Personal data such as your name, birthday and photo. Your contact lists include email and phone book. 
  • Location-based data like your listed address or tagged location on social media sites. 
  • Billing information like credit card details and home address. Employment history, including current and past jobs and previous coworkers.

The personal data you share without realizing it can be used to track your movements, preferences, and social media interactions. This includes:

-GPS location based on WiFi or Bluetooth signal

-Phone information such as service provider, language and time zone settings, smartphone make and model, operating system version, battery percentage remaining

-Social media usage habits like frequency of use, interests and favourite pages

Celebrities are also victims of social media scams

In the past few years, several high-profile hacking incidents involving celebrities and their social media accounts have occurred. In many cases, these hacks have resulted in the leaked personal information or private photos of the celebrities involved. Some of the most notable celebrities include those of Selena Gomez, Scarlett Johansson, and Jennifer Lawrence. In each of these cases, these celebrities social media hacked and then the hackers posted private information or photos without their permission. The hacking of celebrities' social media accounts is a serious issue because it can lead to a violation of privacy and potentially even identity theft. 

If you are a celebrity or public figure, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with social media and take steps to protect your account information. The hacking of celebrities' social media accounts is a serious issue because it can lead to a violation of privacy and potentially even identity theft. If you are a celebrity or public figure, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with social media and take steps to protect your account information. If you are a celebrity or public figure, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with social media and take steps to protect your account information. 

One way to protect your social media account is to use a strong and unique password. Hackers often use brute force methods to try and guess passwords, so a strong password that is not easily guessed is essential. You should also avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, as this can make it easier for hackers to gain access to multiple accounts if they can crack one password. Another way to protect your social media account is to enable two-factor authentication. This means that in addition to a password, you will need another form of identification, such as a code sent to your phone, to log into your account. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to access your account, even if they can crack your password. 

It is also important to be aware of the signs that your social media account may have been hacked. These can include unexpected changes to your password or login information, new posts or messages you did not write, and new followers or friends you do not know. If you notice any of these signs, you must change your password immediately and contact the social media platform to report the hack. Hackers often target celebrities' social media accounts because they can be a source of personal information or embarrassing photos. However, anyone can be a victim of social media hacking, so it is important to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect your account.

What Are The Most Common Social Media Privacy Concerns? 

According to a new Cisco report, 'Building Consumer Confidence Through Transparency and Control,' 86 per cent of customers are concerned about data privacy, and 79 per cent would be prepared to invest time or money to protect their privacy better. To comply, you must first grasp the most prevalent data protection issues that impact social media platforms. It's all about safeguarding and repaying your consumers' data while avoiding a social media disaster that might bring disgrace to your business.

Data Mining

Data mining is the process of automated information gathering that detects trends and patterns. It's often used to identify people's behaviour based on past experiences, such as birthdays, purchases, locations, or content preferences. Websites, social media, and applications are just a few data sources you may use.

Data mining is advantageous because it can glean insights from unstructured data and target customers more efficiently. Additionally, by analyzing customer behaviour patterns, you can make predictions about how they might act in the future so that you may better tailor your messaging and content.

As a social media manager, it is crucial to use compliant data gathering methods. For example, E.U. laws restrict how data can be gathered (you can find more information in the GDPR checklist for marketers). 

Privacy page Ensure that any data collected and used was given with explicit consent and complies with privacy laws (for example, if you don't already have one create a ). You also need to guarantee the security of the data throughout all steps of the process, from collection through storage and analysis to deletion.

Data Breach

Customer data is one of the stolen goods if a company is hacked, and one source of that information might be social media. Individuals provide a lot of personal information on social media, such as marital status, location, preferences, and employment role. According to a BBC feature titled 'How Your Personal Data Is Being Scraped From Social Media,' Tom Liner compiled a database of 700 million LinkedIn users from around the world that he offered for $5,000 (about £3,600; €4,200). This event prompted calls for improved data security on social networks.

You can protect your customers from data breaches on social media by utilizing intrusion detection and prevention systems. If you have an I.T. team or external support, put systems and processes in place to track and manage potential breaches. 

If you are the victim of a breach, tell your customers as soon as possible. Being open and transparent is key to maintaining a reputation and keeping customers.

False Information

Misinformation and propaganda can be spread using social media. Russia's support for Trump was reported by news organizations during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with 30 Facebook groups dedicated to promoting Black Americans and ten YouTube channels created to promote Donald Trump. Trolls or bots have been recognized on Twitter for posing as individuals in order to advocate for a person or cause. The content is frequently inflammatory or designed to elicit a response. It has also been used for stalking, intimidation, and cyberbullying online.

As the administrator of social media accounts, you must avoid providing false information or engaging with trolls. If you encounter nasty comments or posts, utilize moderators. Use moderation tools or reporting methods on various social media platforms to handle abusive comments or postings.

Accounts That Are Not Monitored Or Maintained Regularly

It's a good idea to reserve your brand's handle on all social media platforms, even if you don't plan to use them all immediately. This allows you to maintain a consistent presence across networks, making it simple for people to find you. However, it's critical not to overlook the accounts you haven't used yet, the ones you've stopped using, and those you only use occasionally. Unmonitored social media profiles are vulnerable to hackers who may start posting fraudulent content under your name.

Once they've got access, hackers can send whatever they want. That might be incorrect data that is harmful to your company's reputation. Or it could be virus-infected links that cause significant issues for followers. And you won't realize it until your consumers start coming to you for assistance because of it.

Human Error

Everyone inevitably makes mistakes. With today's hectic schedule, it has become easy for an individual to put their company in harm's way online carelessly. According to the EY Global Information Security Survey, "employee weakness" was reported to cause 20% of cyberattacks. Downloading the wrong file or clicking on a malicious link could have serious consequences.

Some online challenges and quizzes, such as the "learn your elf name" or 10-year challenge, have caused social media security issues. Even though these posts may seem like innocent fun, they give scammers important information that can be used to hack passwords. AARP has warned about these types of quizzes so that their older internet users are aware of the problem. However, younger people—including your employees—are not immune.

Apps That Are Particularly Vulnerable To Attack

Even if you have secure social media accounts, hackers may still be able to access them through vulnerabilities in connected third-party apps. For example, recent hacks of Twitter accounts associated with the International Olympics Committee and F.C. Barcelona were done through third-party analytics apps. The following apps are vulnerable more than you can imagine:

  1. Facebook: 

With over 2 billion active users, Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most vulnerable to cyberattacks. In 2018, for example, a data breach exposed the personal information of over 50 million users. 

  1. Twitter: 

Twitter has over 336 million active users and is particularly popular with celebrities and politicians. However, it has also been the target of a number of high-profile hacking incidents. In 2016, for example, the personal accounts of several high-profile users were hacked in a coordinated attack. 

  1. LinkedIn: 

LinkedIn is a social media platform geared towards professionals. It has over 500 million users and is a popular target for hackers who are looking to steal sensitive information such as contact details and financial data. In 2012, for example, over 6.5 million user accounts were compromised in a major data breach. 4. Instagram: Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform with over 700 million active users. It is owned by Facebook and shares many of the same security vulnerabilities. In 2018, for example, a bug in Instagram’s code allowed hackers to access the personal information of over 50 million users. 

  1. Snapchat: 

Snapchat is a popular messaging app with over 191 million daily active users. It is known for its ephemeral nature, with messages automatically deleting after they have been viewed. However, this doesn’t make it immune to cyberattacks. In 2014, for example, a hacking incident exposed the personal information of over 4.6 million users.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing scams are a huge threat to social media security. These scammers aim to get you or your employees to inadvertently give them passwords, banking details, or other private information.

One way phishers do this is by generating fake coupons for brands like Costco, Starbucks, and Bath & Body Works on Facebook. To redeem the coupon, users must input personal information like their address and birth date into the scammer's website.

Recently, the Singapore Police Force warned about scammers asking for banking information and passwords. Some of these scammers have become bolder recently, using hashtags related to government programs for COVID-19 relief in their schemes.

Also, Read A Guide to Digital Media Security

What Are The Risks Of Using Social Media?

In general, running into a security risk on social media sites is no big deal and usually has an easy fix. For example, if our data were breached or accounts hacked, most of us wouldn't have anything bad happen to us--our reputations would be fine. However, some social media security risks aren't worth taking chances with. Here are a few things that could go wrong:

  • Identity theft is when someone impersonates you for their gain or steals information to use against you. 
  • Hacked social media profiles produce disturbing posts about you that you have no control over. Hackers who use links on social networking sites to gain access to your computer. 
  • Stalkers who send you messages or utilize personal information against you to intimidate or annoy you. 
  • Giving out your home address and when away from home puts your house at risk of being stolen.
  • Advertisements that share your personal information or install malware after you click on them. 
  • Strangers making contact with youngsters. 
  • When creating a new social network account, relaxed security settings (which is rather typical), and when seeking employment, old pictures or comments paint you negatively.

A Complete Guide To Security Best Practices On Social Media

Having similar guidelines for business and personal social media accounts can avoid any negative consequences to your professional and private life. Social media has become a breeding ground for security threats, with no brand or company being exempt from the possibility of an attack.

So, it's daunting if you're like every other of us. What do you do? Do you pull your firm off of social media? This isn't an option since more and more people are flocking to social media sites and using them to follow, discuss, and buy from their favourite businesses. As brands devote more time and resources to social media campaigns, the natural consequence is a need for improved knowledge regarding the risks of using social media. The most frequent security issues relating to social media are addressed in this paper, as well as simple solutions that can be used to lower the danger of them coming true within your company.

To protect your information on social media, you'll need to configure all privacy settings for each social network. Often, these security settings are hidden and difficult to find. However, with recent legislation and public outcry, some networks like Facebook have become more transparent about their security measures. While it's still not easy to locate these settings on Facebook pages, the process has become simpler.

Regardless, begin by making a list of all of your social media accounts. Open each one separately and search for the Settings button. Then go to security. The security settings enable you to change any of the following:

Below are some of the steps you can take to secure your account better:

- Adjust your profile so that personal information isn't displayed. 

- Viewing logs on when you, or someone else, accesses your account. 

- Selecting friends to contact if you get locked out of your account. 

- Changing your password and activate two-factor authentication.  

- Viewing and modifying third-party apps - Activating alerts for suspicious logins. 

-  Choosing who can see your posts - Limiting publicity for past posts. 

- Excluding search functions for outside users and removing your profile from search engines

Using Password Manager

To protect yourself from data breaches and identity theft, use strong passwords and store them in password managers. A password manager is downloaded to your computer to keep track of all of your passwords. This has several purposes. To begin with, a password manager creates complex passwords that are difficult to crack.

It also keeps passwords for you, so you don't have to remember them. Finally, the software automatically logs you into websites. Many password managers are free and help you manage big passwords by reducing them to just one word or a series of numbers and letters.

Activate Two-Step Authentication

Activate two-step verification on your account, especially if it's a business one. Two-step authentication adds a second layer of protection to your login page. It generally sends you a text message with a code. The login module on your computer then asks you to type in the code to finish the login process. All social media companies should implement this. To begin, try Google Authenticator.

Examine Your Entire Profile And Past Postings For Concerns

One of the reasons you should check your social media activity log is to see if there's anything that could potentially cause problems for you, such as if you're applying for a job. Another reason is to identify any moments when you may have been hacked in the past and didn't realize it.

Only Allow Interactions With People You Know

We've all seen unusual friend requests being tagged in photographs or videos that you weren't in. Messages from people you've never met. Any request or message sent by a user you don't know is best stopped with the profile block.

Ensure That All Of Your Apps, Browsers And Computers Are Up-To-Date

Although third-party apps are mostly fun and helpful, they do not have the same security measures as social networks. This is because these apps are not usually created or managed by Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Consequently, there is less control over what happens with this information.

Outdated third-party apps are infamous for security vulnerabilities. For this reason, you should eliminate any unneeded third-party apps and keep the good ones updated. The same is true for your browsers and computer software.

Use A Virtual Private Network (VPN) And Antivirus Software 

Many hackers aim to access your personal computer to obtain private or financial information. You can stop this by ensuring that your computers have proper security measures, like VPNs (virtual private networks) and antivirus software.

What Are The Most Significant Social Media Privacy Rules?

Although social media is a relatively new concept, several laws have been created to protect users' privacy. Some of the most notable social media privacy laws are as follows:

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was created by European governing bodies to protect the personal data of individuals. It also has a set of guidelines about restricting personal data from being exported. 

Concerning social media, GDPR means that you cannot remarket to users unless they have opted in for such activity through an opt-in or sign-up. 

Users must agree to your privacy policy which can sometimes mean agreeing twice if they are directed from a social media site to a landing page or website.

Analytics is difficult, but it's near impossible to get accurate tracking and ROI if you can't attribute activity to your social media channels.

The Right to Be Forgotten, also called the GDPR ( General Data Protection Regulation), is a law that states individuals have the right to ask companies to delete all personal information from their company's databases. This can be done if data collected is being used unlawfully or if it exercises the right of freedom of expression and information. If you receive such a request, there is a 'right to erasure request form' available on the GDPR website that your company will need to fill out in order to comply with this ruling.

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

Closer to GDPR than any other U.S. privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) took effect in 2020. This bill protects consumers' rights to their personal information, meaning tech companies like Google will have less freedom with data harvesting, and consumers will have more control over how their data is used.Regarding social media, CCPA could impact the data that platforms like Facebook and Twitter can collect about you from third parties like websites or apps. It will also make it clearer to users how their data is being shared and used by these companies.

Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA)

Since 2000, the United States has had COPPA: legislation that sets strict standards on website and internet service operators to safeguard the privacy of youngsters under the age of thirteen. It states that websites must have verifiable parental permission to gather or use any personal information from young website users, and it restricts marketing methods that target persons in this age group.

A social media platform's main challenge is correctly identifying the age of its users. After TikTok collected data from kids without parental consent and had to pay a $5.7 million fine, they created an app section for children under 13 with stronger safety and privacy features. They also updated their privacy settings for users aged 13-17, so those teens would have more control over who sees the videos and messages they share.

Social Media (Anti-Trolling) & Online Privacy Bill

In 2022, Australia passed a social media (anti-trolling) law and an online privacy bill to safeguard its citizens online.

The anti-trolling bill would make social media service providers legal publishers of any comments posted on their sites in Australia. To avoid defamation, social media sites need a complaint mechanism that allows victims of defamatory remarks to file complaints and request the offender's identity. The online privacy bill calls for stricter verification procedures for social media platforms such as Reddit, Zoom, and gaming services. It also proposes more severe fines for privacy breaches that may result in penalties totalling up to 10% of annual turnover for businesses.

How to Stay Complaint to Social Media Privacy Policy

Here are some tips to help you be more compliant with social media privacy laws and protect your customers and community:

- Always ask for consent before using someone's information

- Create a privacy policy, promote it, and stick to it

- Know the privacy policies of each social network - review the terms of use regularly

- Have community rules and guidelines specific to each social media page and moderate comments (ensure people are not revealing personal information on posts) 

- Reassure your customers and community where you will use their information.

When asked, delete data on request. Establish a social media policy to help you understand how your firm and workers should act online. Keep track of the most popular social networking sites, so you know what's being said and written about there. Responses to comments on social media should be handled appropriately. A crisis in the digital realm can happen swiftly; follow our ten steps to prepare for a social media catastrophe. If you employ influencers as part of your strategy, be sure they disclose any sponsored or promoted material that they post themselves for transparency reasons.

To avoid and manage breaches or attacks, implement security systems and procedures. To avoid breaches, provide privacy and social media cybersecurity training in your business. In the event of a breach, send notifications as soon as possible. Create a strategy for dealing with the media and stakeholders in the case of a data breach. Consumers today desire greater control over how their information is collected, stored, and used. However, you may still utilize social media platforms to communicate with and convert customers.

The goal is to identify the laws that apply to your firm, adhere to your privacy and social media policies, be aware of underage social users, have security systems in place, and communicate openly with your customers. Don't misuse their trust. Keep their data and privacy safe.

Create an active and engaged social media community. You may grow engagement and trust on your social media platforms using methods and approaches. The Professional Diploma in Social Media Marketing from DMI will teach you how to find your audience using research and social listening while covering all major platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok. You'll also learn about customer service through a social lens as well as strategy and analytics so you can evaluate the success of your campaigns.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Online App's Security as an App Developer?

When it comes to evaluating an application, there are a few things that an app developer must keep in mind. These important elements from the user's perspective are as follows:

Examine All Open Source Codes 

This is the first step in making the apps more safe. Third-party libraries and open-source codes can speed up app creation and usage. Furthermore, developers may also do comprehensive security checks to ensure that the code does not expose their mobile app to risk.

Make Sure Your Source Code Is Secure Above All Else

Customers or clients own the source codes for mobile app development. Mobile developers can consider obscuring those codes to make the application more secure from hackers. One may use software like Pro-Guard to help speed up the codebase jumbling process.

Strong Data Encryption Is Recommended

Every detail within the app must be encrypted, and all plain text resources eliminated to make it difficult for attackers to gain any information from the mobile application. Also, multiple security measures should be considered for optimal protection.

Ensure The Security Of Your Database 

Development teams must ensure that all user data is maintained safely and securely. User credentials, payment information, and a variety of other sensitive data are included in this category. Developers must update security measures in the app to achieve security.

App Data Isolation

On a daily basis, many of today's social applications access data from people's mobile phones. Because of this, developers must put a lot of effort into building multiple layers of protection to safeguard sensitive information.

Security Tools For Social Media

You can't keep an eye on all of your social media accounts 24 hours a day, but software can. Here are some of our favourite social media security solutions.

Permission Management 

With a system like Hootsuite, team members will never have to know the login credentials for any social network account again. You may regulate who has access and what permissions they have. If an employee leaves your firm, you can easily terminate their account without needing to reset all of your social media passwords.

Social Monitoring Streams 

A social media monitoring service is a good place to start. You can use it to stay ahead of the competition. When questionable discussions about your brand and keywords are mentioned on social media, you'll know right away. People may be sharing fraudulent coupons, or an impostor account is beginning to tweet in your name. If you use a social media management tool, you'll see that activity in your streams and have the option to take action.

1. ZeroFOX

If you connect ZeroFOX to your Hootsuite account, it will send you alerts about any:

  • dangerous or offensive content targeting your brand
  • malicious links posted on social accounts related to your business
  • scams targeting your company or customers
  • fraudulent accounts pretending to be associated with your brand

2. Social SafeGuard 

It is a social media policy management software that protects your company and staff from social media dangers. This can help safeguard your organization and employees against potential risks posed by social media. It's also an excellent compliance tool for businesses in regulated sectors.

3. Hootsuite Amplify

We previously mentioned that your social media policy should describe how employees use social media at work. Amplify extends your company's social reach without additional liability by allowing you to pre-approve posts for employee sharing.

4. BrandFort

Spam comments are a security concern since they may entice genuine followers and employees to click on fraudulent sites. Even if you did not directly post the spam, you would have to deal with the consequences. BrandFort can filter out spam comments in several languages and automatically remove them.

Bonus Tips

Here are some tips to help keep your accounts safe:

  • Use a dedicated mobile device for social media. Don't use the same device to access both your personal and business profiles, as this can lead to security issues. 
  • Have someone responsible for managing your company's social media accounts. This will help ensure that posts are timely and relevant.
  • Keep your business and personal accounts separate.
  • This way, you won't have to worry about losing access to important information if someone leaves the company.
  • Use secure WiFi connections only.
  • Public WiFi is a hacker's paradise. If you're working from outside the office, use a private, password-protected network you trust or your own mobile data connection.

And that's a wrap!

When you're running a company or dealing with things like lockdowns and limitations as a result of Covid-19, it's easy to momentarily relax your guard or get caught out by a sophisticated social media fraud. Setting up two-factor authentication, assigning a social media manager, and restricting the number of devices that are signed into your accounts are all basic methods for reducing attacks on your business while also increasing accountability.

When you're running a company or dealing with things like lockdowns and limitations resulting from Covid-19, it's easy to momentarily relax your guard or get caught out by a sophisticated social media fraud. Setting up two-factor authentication, assigning a social media manager, and restricting the number of devices signed in to your accounts are all basic methods for reducing attacks on your business and increasing accountability.

Stay safe out there!

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Haseeb Awan
CEO, Efani Secure Mobile

I founded Efani after being Sim Swapped 4 times. I am an experienced CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the crypto and cybersecurity industry. I provide Secure Mobile Service for influential people to protect them against SIM Swaps, eavesdropping, location tracking, and other mobile security threats. I've been covered in New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Hulu, Nasdaq, Netflix, Techcrunch, Coindesk, etc. Contact me at 855-55-EFANI or for a confidential assessment to see if we're the right fit!

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